Thursday, October 8, 2015

Charter Amendments: Vote Yes AND No

There's an election in Texas on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Early voting begins Monday, October 19. Among other things, there are 83 propositions for amendments to the Richardson city charter.

There's a "Vote YES" side that argues that the charter updates are long overdue, with some of them needed to clean up unintended consequences from the changes for direct election of the mayor approved in 2012, and others needed to get the city charter in conformance with state and federal law. This side wants you to vote "YES" to every single one of the 83 amendments. This side's spokesman is Bill Sproull, who happens to be president of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, although he's heading up the "Vote YES" campaign in a private capacity Ken Hutchenrider, chairman of the Richardson Vote YES Campaign Committee.

And there's a "Vote NO" side that doesn't like how the charter review process was conducted, thinks the charter amendments are designed to legalize sketchy business practices, and, well, doesn't like pretty much anything the city does. This side's spokesman is the rebellious biker Johnny played by Marlon Brando in the movie "The Wild One".
Mildred: "Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?"
Johnny: "Whadda you got?"
Source: The Wild One.
I'm here to help you navigate between these all-or-nothing positions.

Like I said, there are 83 propositions. Don't blindly vote "YES" to everything; don't blindly vote "NO" to everything. As Tim Gunn tells the designers on Project Runway, "Choose wisely." (It's my guilty pleasure; so sue me.)

Enough prelude. Here are my detailed recommendations for how to vote:

If it's too much to read all that, here's a nice, short cheat sheet you can print off and take to the polls with you.

Yes/No Propositions Reason
YES 1,2,6,7,9,11-14,20-23,25-32,34-41,43,45-51,53-66,69,70-83 Cleanup, clarification or minor change
YES 3,4 Calls special election for council vacancies
NO 5 Restricts public's right to attend and speak at meetings
NO 8 Permits unlimited contractual term for city manager
NO 10,15,17,18,67 Insufficient information to judge
NO YES 16 Removes cap on total indebtedness
YES 19 Calls for periodic charter review
YES 24 Pays council members $100 per meeting
YES 33 Makes city attorney also municipal court prosecutor
NO 42 Loosens definition of what are emergency expenditures
NO YES 44 Restricts public's use of referendum
NO YES 52 Restricts public's use of recall
YES 68 Removes cap on franchise fees

And if even that table is too much to cut out and take to the voting booth with you, just remember how to vote on the most consequential amendments: Vote YES on 3 and 4 (these increase the public's powers). Vote NO on 5. And, after further review, vote YES on 44 and 52 (even though these restrict the public's powers).

Remember to vote.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

With all Dallas and Collin County precincts in, all Richardson city charter amendments pass by large margins.